In Memory of John Tongue, MD

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In Memory of John Tongue, MD

In the words of Will Rogers, “You must judge a man’s greatness by how much he will be missed.”

Dr. John Tongue will be missed greatly.

John was such an influential leader in so many places, in so many organizations, and in so many experiences for so many people that there truly are too many good things to list. Too many good things to thank him for.

John joined the Western Orthopaedic Association when he was a Fellow. After his first presentation of a research paper, he was committed to the future of the Association.

As President of the WOA in 2016, he held a momentously successful Annual Meeting in Palm Springs, California. Not only did he run a great Meeting, but behind the scenes he reviewed and updated the structure of the WOA to solidify the organization’s future for years to come. His level of personal investment into the WOA has been, and will continue to be, extremely powerful.

In 2012, John was President of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Upon accepting this position, he expressed, “We help everyone – people of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles. Being able to improve people’s quality of life is a very positive experience.”

This sentiment was reflected in his deep, personal commitment to his family, his patients and friends, all of whose lives have been strengthened by his efforts and actions. His investment in humanity will truly continue to benefit us individually and collectively for the rest of our lives.
As just one example of his influence, people of the state of Oregon who have survived because they were wearing a seatbelt are alive today thanks to John. His incredible effort to get seatbelt laws passed in that state has saved more lives than is possible to measure in numbers.

The support of John’s wife, Nancy and their children has been his solid foundation throughout his career. They are to be thanked for allowing us such a great share of John’s time and effort.

Personally, I can thank John for so many things, it is hard to know where to begin. Therefore, I will choose to thank him for one very critical thing he taught many of us – how to fly fish! He took the time to not only show us the techniques, but how to love the experience.

This picture, I think, shows John exactly how he would like us to remember him.


John, we all thank you for what you have done for us, what it means for us now and what it will mean for the future.

Paul Collins, MD


DISCLAIMER: Statements of fact and opinion are the responsibility of the authors alone and do not imply an opinion or endorsement on the part of the officers or the members of WOA unless such opinion or endorsement is specifically stated. Materials may be reproduced only if Touches and the Western Orthopaedic Association are credited.

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